Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hartford: Fashion....backwards.

In Hartford, it's the little things that make me happy: a restaurant that's full on a Friday night, a jogger on the street, a "coming soon" sign. These things are so rare in downtown Hartford that when they pop up, my confidence in the city instantly increases. Something else that's rare in Hartford? Great fashion.

Fashion in general is pretty much non-existant in my neighborhood. As much as I hate to acknowledge the statistic, Hartford was recently named one of the least sexy cities in the country and Hartford's nickname, the Insurance Capital of the World, does a great job at defying sexiness and fashion. Ok, maybe I'm being overly critical since I just spent a weekend in Boston and I'm running on little sleep but in Boston, people know how to dress. At a sports bar in Brighton (a particularly young area of Boston), seemingly straight men were smart enough to throw on a pair of dress jeans, a button down shirt or sweater, and even a sleek watch; the bar could be compared to Black Bear (although much cleaner) and everyone looked pleasantly put-together. Head deeper into the core of Boston and you're sure to find even more cutting edge, fashion forward outfits. Walk down the Allyn Street club district in downtown Hartford and it's a completely different story: guys in cargo pants, oversized sports t-shirts, and baseball hats. I mean, if you're not going to put in the effort to change out of your day/lounge clothes, how do you expect to pick up girls? Sure, I could head to DISH or Trumbull Kitchen for some better fashion eye candy but those venues draw a slightly older crowd. And even with the high-powered executives working in the city, the workweek isn't much better: men in ill-fitted suits and women in clunky heels or (even worse) sneakers! I stick out like a sore thumb walking to work in brightly colored dress shirts, skinny jeans, and my faux-leather biker jacket.

I guess being between Boston and New York City hasn't done much for Hartford in terms of fashion. Granted, Hartford does not have the same shopping selection as Boston or New York but I've gotta say, there's something stimulating and inspiring about being around an abundance of well-dressed and creative individuals. And there are people in Hartford who do know how to dress...I've seen you! Keep putting together great outfits and showing up the fools on Allyn Street. Now if only Northland would convert that big empty Hartford 21 complex into a Newbury Street or 5th Avenue for Hartford, we'd be sure to see some more eye candy on the streets of Hartford.